CTT to impact Commodity Derivatives: CII

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New Delhi, Aug, 17: A CII study on Sunday, Aug 17 brought out that the proposed Commodity Transactions Tax (CTT) would lower the volume of futures trading in the range of 18 per cent to 59 per cent, depending upon the commodities, within a short span of just seven days of its imposition.

The government had earlier proposed to levy a CTT of Rs 17 per lakh worth of commodities traded on commodity exchanges in the Union Budget 2008-09. The study, conducted over a sample of five major commodities for a period of two years (May 2006-April 2008), reveals that if the CTT would have been levied on May 1 this year, the maximum decline would be felt in gold (59 per cent), followed by crude, (57 per cent), chana (56 per cent), copper (53 per cent), and refined soybean oil (18 per cent) in just seven days. Presently, traders on the exchange incur an average transaction cost of about Rs two per lakh.

''No country in the world levies transaction tax on commodities, and hence when it is implemented in India, there is a fear that it would render domestic futures market uncompetitive vis-a-vis the global markets,'' CII says.

Pointing out that the imposition of CTT would increase the transaction cost to the extent of more than eight times, the study forecasts a sharper fall in the volumes in the range of 93 per cent (chana) to 36 per cent (copper) in a longer term of two years.

The imposition of CTT would also lead to lowering of the trading activity which, in turn, would reduce the volume of transaction on the commodity exchanges and hence, increase the cost of hedging thereby adversely affecting the process of price discovery, CII said.

Thus, the reduced trading interest will also make the commodity markets more volatile, which is the risk a liquid futures market is supposed to eliminate by reducing volatility, the Chamber said, adding that increased volatility will lead to more speculative activities and will make the commodity exchanges to fail in their objectives of price discovery and resource allocation.

The study says the domestic commodity derivative markets, which are currently establishing their position on the global map to emerge as 'price setters' in Asian time zone, will eventually become uncompetitive thereby resulting in shifting of the commodities futures trade to the unorganised platforms or to the global exchange platforms as commodities are global asset classes.

''It will eliminate our chances of being 'price setters' and we would always remain 'price takers' much to the disadvantage of the Indian economy,'' the study highlights.

As the Indian economy opens up to currency transactions, the trades will have stronger potential to cross the borders than what has been estimated, leaving the prices of commodities that we consume to be largely determined by international markets, states the study.

Finally, if the increase in tax collection is the prime objective of the proposal, the study doubts whether imposition of CTT would facilitate the same.

On the contrary, it may prove to be counterproductive for revenue collection due to the decline in trading volumes as has been estimated above, said the CII.

UNI

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